When you’re in college, you recognize that the next four years of your life will be spent in that town making it your home. Most likely it is not going to be your permanent home. Similarly, the residential leadership consultants build a life, a temporary home, in an area that we will not stay in forever. In college, you find roommates and join organizations – sometimes a sorority – and make new friends. It’s the same for a leadership consultant; we join a new sisterhood when working with a residential chapter. This life that I am slowly building in Memphis is important for me to be successful as a leadership consultant. When a student heads off to college, their success can be very contingent on the community that they are surrounded by. Parents are quick to tell their children that who they associate with will determine the path they take in life. I don’t think most people recognize the truth of this statement until they are in college.
Our friends and sisters end up determining what events we go to or where we like to spend our free time. So as I am investing in this chapter, I have begun to adapt to the Memphis culture as well. It’s very different from the place I spent my last four years, at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Ga., but it’s just as fun and challenging.
While getting to know the chapter members, many of them joke about taking me as a little sister. As a consultant, I develop relationships with the women of the chapter very quickly, which reminds me of when I was a new member myself. The chapter has established friendships and traditions and then, all of a sudden, I show up as their consultant and have to find my place with them.
I am nearing the end of my first semester with Beta Xi at the University of Memphis and, similarly, it is time for the initiation of the new members who joined in fall of 2017. Part of me believes that their initiation day will also be emotional for me – just as they have begun calling Sigma Kappa their home, I have begun calling the city of Memphis my temporary home.